Reid trying to add online gambling to tax bill?

Via Instapundit, the Politico is reporting that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is trying to add language permitting online gambling to the tax compromise negotiated between the GOP and the President.  This is a reversal for Reid, who was opposed to online gambling, right up to the point where certain casinos (who are now in favor of the legislation) dumped at least 500K into Reid’s re-election campaign.  It is also precisely the sort of greedy trough-swilling that we’ve come to know, expect, and even kind of count on from the Democrats in the 111th Congress: I can’t imagine how a progressive could feel comfortable about this sort of tacit surrender by the Democratic leadership on the issue of hiking taxes.  Reid isn’t trying to to scupper the legislation: he’s trying to take advantage of it in order to pay off two campaign contributors.  He’s also doing it in a fairly clumsy fashion, but then nobody’s ever accused Harry Reid at being particularly good at his job.

The odds that this will pass are slim, by the way: there’s almost certainly enough Senate votes to prevent cloture and the House GOP will balk en masse.  Which means that Harry Reid is pretty much wasting people’s time with this, during a session that’s already being overloaded by all the demands being made on it by panicky Democrats…

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: As to the actual merits of the legislation… I am uninterested in online gambling one way or the other.  But if I were interested, I am reasonably confident that I wouldn’t be changing my opinion to reflect sizable political contributions on my behalf.  In this I am different from the Senate Majority Leader. Different. Better.

4 thoughts on “Reid trying to add online gambling to tax bill?”

  1. I am uninterested as well Moe, exceptfor the rent-seeking and anti-competition built in it: the bill has a requirement that for the first two years, only established (5 years in opearion) and older casinos, betting tracks, and such could operate an online gambling venue.

    Reid is really grateful for their help, ya?

  2. Jeff, while I’d prefer that the anti-competitive bits not be in there, I don’t actually think they’d make a lot of difference – if a casino wanted to do an online poker room from scratch you’d be looking at a 12 to 18 month project anyways, so there’d be so little lead time that it wouldn’t be worth it, so what everyone would end up doing would be to sign partnerships.

    Of the online poker networks, PokerStars and Full Tilt have their own software, basically everyone else uses the same software as some other places (sometimes dozens of them). So while it would end up being a payoff to the casinos in Vegas, it actually wouldn’t be a particularly well done one, as everyone would end up just having to license someone else’s code and/or join their network.

    I do wish that the Republican party could somehow get over its version of nannyism though – leave that for the no-fun Democrats with no sense of humor.

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